The family of Mark Idihale, one of the three policemen killed at a checkpoint in Taraba State by Nigerian soldiers, has called for an independent investigation involving local and international bodies into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The three officers, Mark Ediale, a police inspector; Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa, who were both sergeants, and a civilian, were on a covert operation to nab a suspected kidnap kingpin when soldiers from the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army opened fire on them, killing them on the spot.
The kidnap suspect was also set free by the soldiers in the August 6 incident.
The police identified the suspect as Hamisu Wadume, expressing grave disappointment that soldiers would set free a man that had been on detectives’ radar for several years before they finally had a chance to take him into custody.
Although the army had admitted the soldiers killed the police officers and a civilian in a bus along a major Taraba road, it blamed the incident on communication gap and disclosed its readiness to cooperate with the investigation.
The police, however, took serious exception to the military’s description of the police officers as ”suspected kidnappers.”
President Muhammadu Buhari sued for calm amongst the services and urged a thorough investigation of the violence.
The slain inspector’s elder brother, Andrew Ediade, who represented the family at a press conference in Abuja, demanded justice for his brother and other slain policemen.
”The family of Inspector Mark Philip Ediade comes before all well-meaning Nigerians and the world community at large to voice out our displeasure, to this gruesome murder of our beloved brother in Taraba state who went on the official duty of this beloved country that has served in the capacity of 16 years or more.
”We vehemently speak against the perpetrators of this act and the operatives which are the Nigerian Army’s and we demand a very thorough investigation not only by the Nigerian community but by the international and independent body as well so justice should be fully served,” Mr Ediade said
He said the family held the conference to demand justice is served and not for ”reason and purposes or compensation.”
The family also demanded to know the whereabouts of the suspected kidnap kingpin and why he was released under the watch of the Nigerian Army.
”We demand to know why the kidnapper was released and the efforts of the gallant police officers were not only compromised and there live was equally cut short and we demand justice.”
The Defence Headquarters (DQH), on Tuesday, ordered the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, to produce the fleeing kidnap kingpin, Mr Wadume.
”Whose side are they on, and on whose payroll are this military personnel? This is one of many questions we demand answers to. Why was the kingpin kidnapper released? We, therefore, demand the culprits be brought to justice as the international body is watching,” Mr Ediade said.
According to him, the action of the Nigerian Army has not only undermined the integrity of the law of the land but has brought grief to the family members of the deceased officers.
He further said the failure of the federal government to bring the perpetrators to justice would appear as an act of conspiracy to the family.
”The wife is now a widow and his daughter is now fatherless. This is an outrage.
”Nothing should be swept under the carpet. Whoever the operators are, we want them to be brought to the fullest of the law of the land. If the law fails to do the needful, we would resolve that it is an act of conspiracy. Our family demands justice. Anything short of this is a mockery to our democracy and the law of the land.
”The record of successful operations accomplished by Inspector Mark Philip Idihale and his fellow officers is not only commendable but enviable.”
Olubunmi Ediade, the widow of Mr Idihale, also called for investigation and justice for her slain husband.
Similarly, an aunt of Jide Owolabi, the civilian killed along with the three police officers, Joy Danlami, also demanded justice for the victim who worked with the Special Anti-robbery Squad.